NEW DELHI: Defending the notification on ban of sale and purchase of cattle, Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that ‘banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter was to have a regularized mechanism’ on cattle trade in India.
Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha told a vacation bench of Justices R K Agrawal and S K Kaul that notification was issued to bring in a regulatory regime for cattle trade. “The rules were changed to check on irregularities in the cattle trade,” ASG said.
During a brief hearing, the court issued notice to Centre and directed the centre to reply on pleas within two weeks while slating the hearing for July 11.
The Centre’s submission came as the apex court sought its response on the pleas challenging the May 26 notification under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter namely from the Madras, Kerala and Bombay High Courts.
However, the bench refused to stay the notification for now as pressed by the petitioner in the case when ASG informed that Madras High Court had already granted an interim stay on the rules.
One of the petitioners, the Hyderabad-based Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi, in his plea stated that the notification was against the freedom of religious practice to sacrifice the animals and imposing a ban on slaughter of animals for food violates the right to food, privacy and personal liberty guaranteed to a citizen under the Constitution.
“Especially states like Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura and Karnataka has made it clear that they would not implement Centre’s ban as it would impact livelihood of those involved in the business,” the petition stated adding it would cast huge economic burden on the farmers.
“Offering sacrifice of animals is a part of cultural identity of certain communities, which is protected from any legislative or executive encroachment under Article 29 of the Constitution of India which is not been subjected to any restriction by the framers of the Constitution,” the petition cited.
Challenging Centre’s competence to introduce such rules regarding regulation of animal markets, it said, “It is relevant to note that, the fields of legislation, concerning ‘Markets and fairs’ and ‘Preservation or protection and improvement of stocks’, falls, within entry 28 and 15 of the State list and thus it is only the State legislature, which is empowered to make laws on the said fields of legislation.”
After the hearing, Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan said that all submissions made by various stakeholders against the ban o will be addressed honestly and seriously.